The survey was carried out in 27 Turkish provinces between March 2 and 26, 2022 by means of face-to-face interviews, with 2,180 respondents representing Turkey’s adult population.
Turkey-EU relations have been marked by political crises. As a result, Turkey’s EU accession process has more or less been put on the back burner. However, since the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean began to decline in Autumn 2020, several high-level dialogue meetings have taken place between the two sides and relations have started to ease. Nevertheless, establishing a stable relationship and a positive agenda has yet to be achieved.
Similarly, after years of tension between the United States and Turkey, the relationship has struck a more positive tone over the last year, particularly since the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. While high level political dialogue is still lacking, there has been close dialogue on bureaucratic level.
While not one of the key drivers, public opinion has increasingly become an important factor impacting foreign policy in democratic countries. The field study of this year’s survey was conducted during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making the results even more interesting.
Within this framework, we hope that this survey will provide a valuable resource for policymakers, media, think tanks, and academics who are searching for ways to put the EU-Turkey or EU-Western relationship back on track.
Turkey’s public opinion seems to favor the European Union as the closest partner in dealing with international matters. The survey demonstrated people believe the EU’s effectiveness for solving global problems compared to other countries or group of countries would lead to better results for humanity. However, this opinion is more pronounced in the 18–24 age group compared to the general population.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a negative impact on how the Turkish perceive Russia. After the invasion, Turkish citizens have been less likely to perceive Russia as a partner and more likely to see it as a security threat.
The tendency to act alone has significantly increased in Turkey. Roughly one quarter of the public thinks that Turkey should not cooperate with anyone on international issues.
When asked about Turkey’s two most important partner countries, 47.2% of the respondents mentioned Azerbaijan as opposed to 46.1% in 2021, followed by Germany with 15.4% as opposed to 13.5% in 2021, and Russia with 13.8% as opposed to 18.6% in 2021.
When asked about the biggest threat as a country or group of countries against Turkey’s national interests, 58.3% of the respondents as opposed to 60.6% in 2021 mentioned the United States, followed by Russia with 31% as opposed to 19% in 2021, and Israel with 29.4% as opposed to 24% in 2021.
When asked about the two most important roles Turkey could play in the world, 63.5% of the respondents as opposed to 65.9% in 2021 mentioned being an economically developed country, 37% of the respondents as opposed to 38.8% in 2021 mentioned being a politically strong country, and 36.8% of the respondents as opposed to 30.6% in 2021 mentioned being a country which is influential in military issues.
When asked about which country or group of countries Turkey should cooperate most closely with on international issues, 33.1% of the respondents as opposed to 37% in 2021 preferred the EU countries, 5.6% of the respondents as opposed to 14.7% in 2021 preferred Russia, 6.8% of the respondents as opposed to 6.5% in 2021 preferred China, and 4.7% of the respondents as opposed to 9.1% in 2021 preferred the United States. 24.6% of the respondents as opposed to 15.9% in 2021 wanted Turkey to act alone.
It was observed that acting together with the EU countries on international problems was explicitly preferred more by the respondents in the 18–24 age group. 44.4% of respondents in this age group wanted to cooperate more closely with the EU countries as opposed to 33.1% in the general population.
When asked about which country or group of countries should have a say in solving global problems to improve the lives of the majority of humanity, 35.6% of the respondents as opposed to 35.8% in 2021 preferred the EU, followed by China with 6.0% as opposed to 8.2% in 2021, and the United States with 5.8% as opposed to 12.9% in 2021. Those who preferred Russia decreased from 10.5% in 2021 to 3.8% in 2022.
It was observed that the respondents in the age group of 18–24 were more inclined to expect better results for most of humanity if the EU was more influential in solving global problems. 43.8% of the respondents in the 18–24 age group preferred the EU countries as opposed to 35.6% in the general population.
38.2% of respondents as opposed to 37.4% in 2021 wanted Turkey to play a more active role in the Middle East, Balkans, and North Africa while 58.7% of the respondents as opposed to 59.6% in 2021 wanted Turkey to first address its domestic problems.
To read full article: https://www.gmfus.org/news/turkish-perceptions-european-union-2022